The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has revealed the intentions of deploying an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system to counter the spread of Ebola.

The announcement which came earlier last week, reports that IRC teams in West Africa have been “preparing and testing the technology”, for betterment of Ebola patients, clinicians’ decision-making, staff safety, and learning for possible future outbreaks. EMRs also will enable the IRC to systematically document the quality of care if provides to patients.

David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC explained, “The information provided by electronic medical records significantly increases the power and potential we have to fight Ebola and improve care for its victims. EMRs are a potential game-changer, providing us with critical information for the response and important data that can be used during future health emergencies. The fight against Ebola is far from won, and now is the time to redouble our efforts.”

Owing to the risk of infection most previous outbreak records have been destroyed. In order to better handle situations and remove shortcomings of the system, the IRC has employed teams with expertise in IT, data, business development and medical to structure an approach that betters the quality and efficiency of care.

What they came up with is a system called  “Jedi” (Joint Electronic Health Decision Support Interface) with the potential to dramatically alter the Ebola response in West Africa and which can pave the way for use of electronic health systems in sub-Saharan Africa generally, according to IRC.

IRC explains that JEDI essentially it does three things :

  1. Keeping Ebola health care workers safe

The time spent inside high-risk areas of Ebola treatment centers must be carefully monitored. Health care workers wear cumbersome and hot protective gear that limits their time treating patients to about an hour. Jedi can track the location of health care workers to help them maximize their caregiving without jeopardizing their own health.

  1. Tracking Ebola patients

Jedi can track Ebola patients’ history from the time they arrive at a treatment center to the time they leave. Health care workers will know instantly how many patients are seen a day, the condition of patients when they arrive, what percentage of the patients test positive for the virus, what essential treatments were given to discharged patients, and the survival rate of patients.

  1. Decision-making

Jedi will help health care workers simplify and speed up orders for essential medicines and dosing. If a patient has severe pain, the staff using Jedi can access and order the proper dose of morphine; if someone is vomiting, the health care worker presses the option for anti-emetic to prescribe Zofran.

It will debut later this month at the IRC’s Ebola treatment unit in Monrovia, Liberia.

Read more here.

(Image credit: JD Hancock)

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